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Drunk Driving Fatalities Down Across The Nation, But Not Md.

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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—A positive sign as the number of people who died in traffic accidents is down across the country. But in Maryland, highway officials say there’s no reason to celebrate.

Kai Jackson has more.

It’s estimated that more than 240 million vehicles traverse the roads of America. That presents millions of opportunities for accidents and fatalities, but officials say the numbers are actually down.

“I absolutely want to see those numbers go down,” said Bonnie Bauerle, of Middletown, Del.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, says they have dropped. NHTSA says in 2010, 32,788 people were killed on U.S. roads— a 3 percent decrease from 2009. It’s the lowest number of highway deaths since 1949.

“It is very encouraging,” said Neil Pedersen, State Highway Administration. “National numbers came out today and they do show a reduction from 2009 levels.” 

NHTSA attributes the reduction to several factors, including more people wearing seat belts, better safety equipment in cars and a reduction in drunk driving.

The State Highway Administration says Maryland has made great progress in reducing fatalities, but the administrator says there’s still a lot of work to be done.

“We cannot rest on our laurels at this point,” Pederson said. “We need to continue to be vigilant. We need to continue to do things like encouraging everyone to wear seat belts. We need to ensure that people do not get behind the wheel if they’ve had too much to drink.”

“It’s too many people; it’s way too many people. I worry about my kids ’cause they drive.  My son travels all over for his job,” said Guizzle Boosby, of Baltimore.

Caroline Cash with Mothers Against Drunk Driving in Maryland says the bay state is one of only seven showing an increase in drunk driving fatalities.

Overall the SHA says just under 500 people died on Maryland roads last year.

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